Chiltern Hills Academy A Church of England Academy

Curriculum

2018-2019

Chiltern Hills Academy believes in providing inspiration to students through a school curriculum built on high expectations and standards and offering an extra-curricular experience that encourages participation, enjoyment and the opportunity to be the best we can be. Our curriculum offers a broad-based mix of academic and vocational subjects which is structured to cater for a wide range of learning styles and abilities. We utilise a combination of setting and mixed-ability groupings to ensure that teaching and learning is closely tailored to the needs of our students. English, Maths, Science, Humanities and Languages set according to ability, whilst Design, Performing arts, PE, RS and life skills are taught in mixed ability groups. The school is committed to offering a broad and balanced curriculum and continues to follow the guidance offered by the Department for Education with regards to ensuring this.

We have a condensed Key stage 3 in Years 7, 8. Students study the following subjects: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Art, Drama, Music, Dance, Design (Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials and Textiles), ICT, PE, RE and Life skills. We believe strongly that students need a firm grounding in a wide-range of subjects before making their GCSE option choices and therefore we have a three year Key Stage 4. We are also firmly committed to not forcing students through examinations early, as evidence shows that this does not allow students the time or experience to reach their true potential. Students, therefore, make their option choices at the end of Year 8 and enjoy a very broad choice of subjects.

We also run a bespoke enrichment programme for all KS3 students for 50 min a week on an extended school day, this allows students to learn different skills outside of the classroom.  Throughout the academic year students choose 6 activities ranging from making textural sculptures to henna painting.

We have a two week timetable, lessons are 60 minutes long and number 25 per week (27 with the two additional enrichment sessions) In terms of curriculum time, the model is:

Year 7 and 8

KS3

English

8

Maths

7

Science

7

PE

3

Geography

3

History

3

 Span*Fre*Art,RS,(Mu,Drama,Dance**) Enrich,PD Food

2

 

Life skills, ICT

1

 

Total

27* (inc 2 enrichment )

*Students will select either Spanish or French at the end of the first term in Y7

** Students select 2 of the 3 performing arts subjects at the end of Y7

At Key Stage 4, students enjoy a very broad choice of options. In addition to the core curriculum of English, English literature, Maths, Science, ICT, RE and Physical Education, students have four option choices. This gives the option to follow either a ‘traditional’ mix of subjects, such as a Language, along with Humanities, Technology and Arts-based subjects, or a combination which focuses on a particular area of strength. For example, a student wishing to follow a more technological path could opt for Product Design or Computer Science, or a student wishing to follow an Arts-based path could opt for Music, Drama, and Media Studies. We also offer vocational subjects which include BTEC Level 2 First in Sport, Business, Drama and These are the courses we offer at the end of Year 8 for the students to study in Year 9, 10 and 11.

  • GCSE English Language - Core
  • GCSE English Literature - Core
  • GCSE Maths -Core
  • GCSE Combined Science -Core
  • GCSE Triple Science: Core (selected)
  • Religious Education - Core (non-examined)
  • PE – Core (non-examined)
  • Life skills -Core
  • Literacy and numeracy programme - Core

Option subjects:

  • GCSE Geography
  • GCSE History
  • GCSE French
  • GCSE Computing Level 2 in Business Studies
  • GCSE Art
  • GCSE Photography
  • GCSE/Level 2 Drama
  • GCSE Music
  • GCSE Dance
  • GCSE Product Design
  • GCSE Food and Nutrition
  • BTEC PE
  • BTEC Level 2 Sport Level 2 Child Development
  • GCSE Media
  • GCSE RS

Curriculum time allocation at Key Stage 4

Life skills at Key Stage 4 is taught over 1 hour in the two week timetable. Activities related to drug education, financial education, sex and relationship education (SRE) and the importance of physical activity and diet for a healthy lifestyle. We also run opportunity days, 3 throughout the academic year, these days are vital for students to take part in Business days, WRL programmes or taking part in educational trips and visits.

In addition to these subjects, we have a very full Work Related Learning programme for all students at Key Stage 3 and 4. Students have careers interviews in groups, or individually if needed.

Lessons are 60 minutes long and number 25 per week, we have a two week timetable. In terms of curriculum time, the model is:

KS4 – Year 9 & 10

English

9

Maths

8

Science*

8+2

MFL, Hums, Option subjects

5

PE

3

RS – Core non - examined

2

Life Skills

1

KS4 – Year 11

English

9

Maths

8

Science

9

MFL, Hums, Opt 1, Opt 2

5

PE

2

Life Skills / RS GCSE*

1

*Students have 2 additional sessions of GCSE RS during our extended school day.

Sixth Form

We offer a broad range of A-level courses which cater for a wide range of learners. In addition to studying A-level courses, students will also have form time every day. Form time covers a range of topics such as study skills, support for progression into employment or HE and current affairs.

Students taking applied courses

At Chiltern Hills Academy we offer some applied general qualifications-BTEC courses which may be appropriate for some learners to achieve their career goals. BTECs are rigorous advanced qualifications that equip students with transferable knowledge and skills. These qualifications are for learners who want to continue their education through applied learning. These can be taken alongside A-level qualifications.

Students with special educational needs and/or disability

Students with special educational needs and/or disabilities will be supported through their choice of post-16 courses to ensure they follow a programme which stretches them, prepares them for adulthood and supports progression into work or further study. We work closely with students who have special education needs and/or disabilities (and their parents/carers) to ensure their choice of courses is appropriate given their career aspirations.

GCSE Maths and English 

Any student in post-16 education at Chiltern Hills Academy who has not secured a ‘good’ pass in GCSE English and/or maths with have timetabled lessons as part of their study programme. Most employers, and universities, expect applicants to hold GCSEs in maths and English. Therefore, students who have yet to secure a ‘good pass’ must retake these examinations following a period of study in Year 12 and, where necessary Year 13.

Work Experience 

All Year 12 students will have the opportunity to take on a work experience placement. This placement will be arranged by the student and should be related to career aspirations or help to inform career choices. Some students may gain work experience for a longer period which supports university application or employment beyond sixth form. This work experience will be planned, taking account of the students’ prior attainment, career and learning goals and linked to future aspirations. This work experience is timetabled 

All students get the opportunity to take part in meaningful activity alongside work experience. This currently includes: Buddy students in lower years, complimentary studies, enrichment support, sporting activities, University Open Day visits and visits to parliament.

Assessment and Reports

Throughout your son’s/daughter's school life his/her work, effort and attitude will be continuously assessed.

Assessment is based on a combination of classwork, homework and formal tests. Considerable emphasis is placed upon a student’s effort and potential when assessing work. Students are involved in self-assessment and encouraged to set their own targets for progress.

Progress reports are regularly issued to parents four times throughout the academic year. These give parents information on the skills, knowledge and attitudes and provide a detailed analysis of a child's work and progress, taking into account curriculum and GCSE requirements. Parents are also invited to meet teachers and discuss their child's progress in an annual Parents' Evening in Y11 and Sixth Form this is twice annually to support students through their external examinations.

As the government has removed level descriptors from the national curriculum, schools are free to choose whatever measure of pupil attainment and progress they feel is most appropriate. Here at Chiltern Hills Academy, we have chosen to adapt the previous curriculum levels.

Grades in the form of numbers are produced for all subjects taken and are formulated following the completion of key assessments and through the assessment of all work produced both in and out of class. In the report, there is:

An attitude to learning grade on a scale of 1 to 4. This will provide parents with a measure of the effort that their child is deemed to be applying in class over that particular term.

A minimum target which is a target for the end of the year. To understand how we set these progress targets we must explain that progress is measured on how well each student is progressing given their individual starting point. In line with national policy, set by the Government, currently for our students the starting point is their level achieved in the Key Stage 2 (KS2) English and Maths SATs test sat at the end of Year 6. This target allows parents to judge whether a child is on track to make the expected progress to their target GCSE grade in later years.

We must note that some children do progress at a steady rate whilst others make rapid progress in some subjects. Not all students will follow this progress line exactly and it should be noted that students’ progress at different rates at different times of their education. This flight path of targets should be taken as an indicator of potential.

Students have less experience in some specialist subjects, such as MFL, and we would expect them to start from a lower level and develop a foundation of knowledge, skills and understanding.

We are in an era of great change when it comes to national assessment policy and feel that our common-sense approach to reporting attainment and progress whilst different models are trialled nationally will provide some stability and rigour to the assessment information parents, understand and can act upon.